This afternoon, the #14 UCLA men’s basketball team will play the #14 Kentucky Wildcats in the second game of the CBS Sports Classic at approximately 2:15 pm PT. The actual game time will depend on when the first game of the CBS Sports Classic between North Carolina and Ohio State concludes. This year, the games are being played at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
John Calipari’s Wildcats come into today’s game on a four-game winning streak. So far in December, the Wildcats have only played two games. Last Saturday, they defeated Yale, 69-59. The previous Sunday, they topped Michigan, 73-69.
Interestingly, both of these teams closed out November with home games against Bellarmine, their only common opponent. While UCLA won their game by 21 points, the Wildcats won theirs by 19. Now, it’s never as simple as saying Team A won by more so they should win, but the fact that each team won by almost the same margin might just indicate that today’s game will be a battle.
This will be the first matchup between the Wildcats and the Bruins since Mick Cronin was hired. It doesn’t mean that Cronin and Calipari get along very well. Calipari’s Wildcats beat Cronin’s Bearcats once when Cronin was at Cincinnati in the 2015 NCAA Tournament. But the duo allegedly got into an argument in a Las Vegas hotel years ago after Calipari stole a recruit from Cronin.
Suffice it to say that, that Calipari was arrogant about it.
Well, I’m sure Cronin is going to make sure his Bruins are prepared for today’s game, and if Thursday’s game was any indication, UCLA is going to play well today.
Let’s look at the starting five for the Wildcats.
Four of the Kentucky starters transferred to Kentucky from other schools. The leader of the Wildcats is senior forward Oscar Tshiebwe, who leads the team with 16.1 ppg and 13.3 rebounds per game. The other forward is Jacob Toppin, who transferred from Rhode Island. Like Tshiebwe, Toppin came to Kentucky after his freshman season. Toppin is third in scoring with an average of 11.9 ppg and he is second in rebounds with an average of 6.7 per game.
Moving to the guards, senior Antonio Reeves is second in scoring with an average of 13.9 ppg. He also shoots the three more than any other guy for Kentucky. His 48.2 three-point percentage is second-best among Wildcats who have tried at least three three’s. The final starter who began his college career elsewhere is senior Sahvir Wheeler, who transferred from Georgia after his sophomore season. Wheeler is the only Wildcat starter who is not averaging in double figures. He averages just 9.0 ppg, but he does lead the team in assists with 6.5 per game. He is also leading the SEC in that category.
The final Wildcat starter is true freshman guard Cason Wallace. Wallace averages 10.7 ppg while leading the team in steals with 2.4 per game. His 51.6% three-point percentage is the highest on the Wildcat team.
Kentucky hasn’t had an issue with guys fouling out this year. In fact, Tshiebwe is the only one to foul out of a game so far and he has fouled out just once. If the Bruins can get the Wildcats into foul trouble, it will go a long way towards a Bruin win this afternoon since it doesn’t seem to happen often.
Today’s game will be on CBS with Brad Nessler and Bill Raftery calling the game. These guys are two of the best when it comes to calling college basketball, but if you prefer to listen to Josh Lewin and Tracy Murray, just be sure to right-click on it so that you can open up another tab and have it going while you chat in the comments below. Listen to today’s game online.
This is your UCLA men’s basketball vs. Kentucky game thread. Here’s how to watch today’s game:
2022 CBS Sports Classic
Teams: #14/16 UCLA Bruins (9-2, 2-0) vs. #13 Kentucky Wildcats (7-2)
Series Record: Kentucky leads, 8-7
When: 3:13 pm PT, Saturday, December 17, 2022
Where: Madison Square Garden, New York, NY
TV: CBS with Brad Nessler, Bill Raftery and Jenny Dell
Live Stream: CBSSports.com and the CBS Sports app
Local Radio: AM 1150 with Josh Lewin and Tracy MurraySatellite Radio: SiriusXM Ch. 83 (UCLA Call)
Live Stats: UCLA StatBroadcast
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